MR-based measurements and simulations of the magnetic field created by a realistic transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coil and stimulator

NMR Biomed. 2016 Nov;29(11):1590-1600. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3618. Epub 2016 Sep 27.


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an emerging technique that allows non-invasive neurostimulation. However, the correct validation of electromagnetic models of typical TMS coils and the correct assessment of the incident TMS field (BTMS ) produced by standard TMS stimulators are still lacking. Such a validation can be performed by mapping BTMS produced by a realistic TMS setup. In this study, we show that MRI can provide precise quantification of the magnetic field produced by a realistic TMS coil and a clinically used TMS stimulator in the region in which neurostimulation occurs. Measurements of the phase accumulation created by TMS pulses applied during a tailored MR sequence were performed in a phantom. Dedicated hardware was developed to synchronize a typical, clinically used, TMS setup with a 3-T MR scanner. For comparison purposes, electromagnetic simulations of BTMS were performed. MR-based measurements allow the mapping and quantification of BTMS starting 2.5 cm from the TMS coil. For closer regions, the intra-voxel dephasing induced by BTMS prohibits TMS field measurements. For 1% TMS output, the maximum measured value was ~0.1 mT. Simulations reflect quantitatively the experimental data. These measurements can be used to validate electromagnetic models of TMS coils, to guide TMS coil positioning, and for dosimetry and quality assessment of concurrent TMS-MRI studies without the need for crude methods, such as motor threshold, for stimulation dose determination.

Keywords: MR phase maps; TMS coils; TMS-MRI; magnetic field mapping.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Magnetic Fields
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetics / instrumentation*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Transducers*